Proud of Him, Pray He Isn’t Tortured: Captured IAF Pilot’s Father
A day after Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman of the Indian Air Force (IAF) was taken into Pakistan's custody following the crash of an Indian MiG-21 Bison on Pakistan soil, his father, retired Air Marshal Simhakutty Varthaman, prayed for his safe return back home and expressed hope that he does not get tortured.
In a message, the father of the 34-year-old wing commander said:
"Thank you my friends for your concern and wishes. I thank God for his blessings, Abhi is alive, not injured, sound in mind, just look at the way he talked so bravely...a true soldier... we are so proud of him. I am sure all your hands n blessings are on his head , prayers for his safe return, I pray that he does not get tortured, and comes home safe n sound in body and mind. Thank you all for being with us in this hour of need. We draw our strengths from your support and energy (sic)."
Catch all the live updates on the India-Pakistan tensions here.
Pak to Release IAF Pilot on Friday: Imran Khan
On Thursday, 28 February, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said the country will release Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman on Friday, 1 March, as a gesture of peace.
The pilot’s capture came amid escalating tensions between India and Pakistan in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack. On Wednesday, 27 February, the two sides claimed to have shot down each other's warplanes.
India accused Pakistan of attempting to target its military installations, adding that it shot down a F-16 warplane of Pakistan while it lost a MiG-21 during the fierce engagement between the air forces of the two countries along the Line of Control (LoC).
Wednesday's developments came a day after the IAF carried out air strikes on a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp across the LoC in Balakot.
(This story has been updated to include Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s announcement that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman will be released on 1 March)